Most artists spend a fortune trying to find the right system to keeping their wet paints from withering up. We’ve tried the brand name systems with the sponges. They go moldy and the lids are flimsy. We’ve tried the porcelain pans, glass pans, glass palettes, and the new plastic palettes, all guaranteed to peel your paint off quickly. We are tired of scraping up dried paint.
After many years of trial and error, I’ve come up with something that works – at least for me. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I can store my unused acrylic paints for at least a month or more! I have used this method for probably 15 years.
This is the list of what you need: a cheap plastic pie saver (Walmart) or deviled egg saver (take out the insert), paper towels, Styrofoam plates (not paper or plastic plates), a fine water mister and some vinyl (not wool or foam) weather stripping with adhesive backing.
Assembling: 1. Measure the amount of weather stripping you need to go around the circumference of the pie saver – the part that fits under the lid. I cut mine in half lengthwise with pinking shears to make it fit snugly. Take off the adhesive strip and carefully apply the weather stripping onto the pie saver. 2. Place a dripping wet paper towel on the inside of the pie saver. 3. Load up your paint onto the plate. The Styrofoam plate fits perfectly into the pie saver.
Here’s the key. You must keep your paints moist at all times. When your paints are stored in the pie saver, make sure the towel is wet. Lightly mist your paint when placing into the saver and lock the lid over the weather stripping. The weather stripping will keep your paints moist for a long time unless you open the lid. I never keep my paint in the fridge. While you are using your paints out of the pie saver, you must mist them every few minutes. As long as your paints are shiny, they are wet. If you see them begin to dull, quickly mist them.
That’s it. Now you know. Honestly, I can keep the paint for months. I reapply paint when it runs out and I replace the paper towel from time to time. For those who are worried about Styrofoam vs. Earth as I do, there is much less waste using only a few plates (I’m talking three or four a year) versus many other containers that don’t work and end up in the trash. In addition it is nice to use up all the paint instead of throwing away so much paint.
Now you know. Here at Oakwood Artists’ League it’s never a dull moment! Happy painting!